This past weekend, The Man and I were lucky enough to go check out Gateway Canyons Resort in Gateway, Colorado… a luxury stay voted best in Colorado and #3 Best Resort in the West by Travel + Leisure, among many other distinctions. Once in every blue moon I get a media opportunity like this with the magazines, and it was perfect timing to keep Nick’s birthday celebration rolling through the weekend. And Harper tagged along!
Check out the first of my two-part getaway recap, which in total features over 100 photos. 🙂
Friday afternoon, I wanted to surprise the man by doing a little cleaning around the apartment before we made the drive out to Gateway. I knew he’d be tired after a long week of teaching (and getting up far too early to grade papers), and I wanted to make sure he knew that the house would be peaceful and ready for us to unwind when we returned from our trip Sunday night. I didn’t want our getaway to equate to more work/stress during a time that should be reserved for charging our batteries.
After packing up the car, we were off on the 5-hour drive to Gateway! We made our road trip even more fun by listening to 50s classics (to which Nick is singing along in this pic) and interesting podcasts (thanks for the recommendations, Mom!). Harper is a champ in the car and
snores sleeps the whole way.
Although the sun was setting and a good portion of our drive was at night, the views of the fall leaves and the mountain landscapes were breathtaking. I took a thousand pictures, but none of them does it justice.
On the last winding road to the resort, which is kind of in the middle of nowhere (the good kind!), we had no idea what our surroundings looked like because it was pitch black and were only guided by the light of the moon (and the clear view of the stars). Upon arrival, we checked in with Paula at reception, who helped us find our room and get all our things situated. We couldn’t quite see much of the resort at night, but we were excited to see our room!
Here’s a photo of the steps up to our room! The architecture is adobe style, and you should see it against its mesa/palisade backdrop! But more of that later. We arrived at night and couldn’t drink it all in just yet. I took these photos of our building the following day.
Here was an entryway bar with coffee, snacks, and wine/liquor. Also: Harper’s bowls.
It’s hard to tell with our stuff strewn about, but the living area was cozy and luxurious, with a southwestern flare. I love the sliding barn door, which leads to the bedroom.
Here: plush furnishings and a sliding glass door that leads to the private balcony!
Out on the balcony, a large switch-operated fire pit kept us warm.
The living room’s fireplace is double-sided… so we could also enjoy it from the bedroom.
We set up Harper’s crate at the foot of the bed! The Resort allows guests to leave pets in the rooms, as long as they’re crated. I really, really loved this pup-friendly touch.
Nick and I love our incredibly comfortable king bed at home… and this is the first time we’ve met a hotel bed that rivaled our own!
But my favorite aspect of the suite, by far, was this giant bath tub (and yes, there was a lovely shower, as well).
This bath tray knows what’s up. Bath goals! Of course there was a bubble bath taken that night. I couldn’t resist!
Harps still isn’t sold on the bath idea… even with such a luxe tub.
A Hike With Harper
The next morning, after grabbing a quick breakfast at their Kiva cafe, we took Harper on a hike on Entrada Trail, one of the property’s many trails, accessible right out the door.
Look at that view! This part of Colorado is other-wordly. Gateway is said to be the entry point from Utah, and it shows.
This formation is called a palisade, and the oldest layer at the bottom is 300 million years old. At around the midpoint, 150 years old, was the dinosaurs’ heyday, and the Resort takes people on guided archeological tours where numerous fossils have been (and still regularly are) discovered. We learned all this from Zeb, the Resort’s Curiosity Curator, one of the coolest jobs on the planet! After our hike, Zeb gave us an entire tour of the property.
It’s probably not surprising when I tell you that Gateway Canyons Resort was built by John Hendricks, founder of the Discovery Channel and Discovery Communications.
We were happy to provide Harper some exercise and excitement before relaxing in her crate for a few hours. It’s safe to say she was happy, too!
A Wine Tour
After our tour with Zeb, he handed us off to our personal driver for the day, Lee, who would be escorting us on the hour drive from Gateway to Palisade—Colorado peach orchard and vineyard country—for an afternoon of wine tasting!
Lee was an exceptional tour guide. We had a great time chatting with him and learning about the area.
It’s important to note that being chauffeured to wine tastings is but one of the Resort’s numerous outstanding experiences and amenities. In addition to its state-of-the-art spa, the Resort offers: an auto museum (the owner’s exquisite collection), the opportunity to drive luxury cars, helicopter tours, guided hikes (including the archeological one I mentioned), ATV and bike rentals (on the most spectacular trails, mind you), skeet shooting, horseback riding on the most gorgeous stretch of ranch land I’ve ever seen, private dining experiences under the stars, movie theater showings, and more. Also: The whole Resort experience is designed to make you feel like you’ve got the whole place to yourself… but I’m going to get into that more in Part 2.
First up was Graystone Winery, a boutique-style winery that specializes in ruby red and white Ports. This was one of our favorite recommendations from Lee!
Nick introduced me to ports back at Il Posto for my 30th birthday, and I wasn’t particularly turned on to them until visiting Graystone! They were delicious!
We tasted the Port V, Port VI, and the Lipizzan Port. Port V was my favorite.
Meadery of the Rockies
Next was Meadery of the Rockies, another great recommendation from Lee. I’d never had mead (wine made from fermented honey!) before, so I was excited to try something completely new.
The tasting menu starts with the least sweet and ends with the most sweet. We tasted the Lightly Sweet, Sweet, Peach, Blackberry, and Chocolate Raspberry Honey Wines. I loved them all, and we ended up purchasing a bottle of the Sweet, which is their most popular.
Red Fox Cellars
Next was Red Fox Cellars, which was by far the best wine-tasting atmosphere we visited that day.
The woman attending to us was super friendly, and the design of the place was rustic/industrial and cozy.
We tasted this whole menu! Nick loves reds, and we both enjoyed their Bourbon Barrel Merlot, which is what they’re known for. We bought a bottle of it, and went on to try a couple of their ciders.
One was sweet and the other spiced, and we enjoyed them both.
At this point, we were starting to get hungry for lunch…
And I was starting to get goofy! 🙂
Palisade Cafe 11.0
We got back in the car and asked Lee for a good lunch spot. His recommendation, once again, did not disappoint! While it rained, we dined in at Palisade Cafe 11.0, a hopping little place with great service and food.
We both went in with greasy, wine-absorbing food in mind. 🙂
Nick ordered this delicious Pal Burger with cheddar cheese.
And I ordered the Gunny Grilled Cheese, on the most scrumptious focaccia bread.
St. Kathryn Cellars
At the Meadery of the Rockies, we learned about another winery under the same owners: St. Kathryn Cellars and Talon Wine Brands. They also had fudge tasting, which was a nice post-lunch touch.
We tried the Apple Blossom, Golden Pear, Peach, Lavender (which was mind-blowing!), and Pomegranate.
The shop was quirky and fun to poke around.
This sign was spot on! 🙂
Colorado Cellars Winery
Next, Lee took us on a ride through the hills of Palisade, where we passed orchards and vineyards galore. It was raining pretty significantly at this point, but the views were still marvelous. We stopped at one last winery, Colorado Cellars, Colorado’s oldest, largest, and most award-winning winery. We tasted around 10 more wines before
napping in the car heading back to the Resort.
Dinner at Entrada
After returning to our room and walking Harper around the Resort, we rested up before our reservation at Entrada, one of the Resort’s five eateries.
I went for western comfort and repurposed my denim button-up to go with my dinner attire. Resourceful!
We started the evening with two appetizers that were even better than we expected.
The burrata (above), with heirloom tomato, arugula, and grilled pineapple, was delicious!
We also ordered the tuna poke, which was spectacular and my favorite dish!
For my entrée, I ordered the crispy salmon with a wild mushroom risotto.
The risotto was a tad too salty and strong, but I still ate all of it! The salmon was cooked exquisitely.
Nick ordered the bison rib eye with mashed potatoes. Yum!
It, too, was perfectly cooked… but the mashed potatoes took center stage.
And of course, we needed dessert, so we decided to try the chocolate torte. We were stuffed!
That was all DAY ONE! The next day we headed back to Entrada for the most perfect breakfast before taking Harper on a comprehensive walking tour of the property. Stay tuned for those photos tomorrow!